Newb Ques: Do Runners ever win by draining R&D?

As a new player, the one strategy I haven’t seen so far in decklists or play is the Runner winning by forcing the Corp to exhaust R&D.

Have there ever been decks that successfully exploited this victory condition?

Sorry if this is a silly question. I’m sure there are plenty of aspects of the meta that I haven’t seen yet.



Yes, the runner can win by draining R&D. This is more often referred to as ‘milling’. The most common mill decks are in anarch, using either Noise’s ID ability to install many viruses, or using Data Link Reversal (DLR), often in conjunction with Joshua B.

In both cases it is more common for these decks to win by accessing archives (potentially using Hades Shard), than to mill the corp to 0 cards in R&D. Corp players will usually attempt to forestall a loss in such situations by using Jackson Howard to add cards to R&D before their mandatory draw phase, while scoring as aggressively as they can since the runner is more focused on milling than running.

In my experience with these decks, there is a fine line to walk between the mill win and the agenda-steal win. They seem similar, but there are times when the win can be guaranteed by the aggressive mill play, while stealing the agendas is only fairly likely to win.

There are a lot of subtleties to playing these styles of decks. They can seem non-interactive at first, but as you learn to play with and against them, they actually depend a lot on the board state and player interactions.


Indeed! Not only did @mediohxcore win both Worlds 2015 and North America 2016 with this sort of deck, but there are several decks built around core set runner Noise that attempt the same.

The name of this sort of strategy is “milling your opponent”, so if you’re looking for deck list ideas, search for “mill decks”. The most successful ones use a card called Data Leak Reversal, or DLR for short. Enjoy!


Thanks so much. I kept thinking of the term “milling” as just being a means of pulling cards you wanted from your own piles.

This opens a whole new world, and explains a lot of the current meta discussion that I didn’t think I was understanding!

Yeah, I can see the confusion. Unfortunately, it’s a holdover term from Magic. There’s a bunch of these terms that may be confusing to new players (i.e. “tutor” for search effects, etc).

Also, for dedicated new player questions and discussion check out: